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A World of Difference for a Refugee Family

Sometimes it can be easy to overlook how fortunate we are to be living in Canada, where patients can benefit from a world-class health care system. For Sufyan, his wife Najat, and their twelve-year-old twin boys Haider and Omar, having access to care at McMaster Children’s Hospital means the difference between life and death.

“Haider and Omar both have severe Hemophilia A, an inherited genetic bleeding disorder in which a clotting protein is missing or deficient, causing prolonged bleeding,” explains Kay Decker, Hemophilia Nurse Coordinator at McMaster Children’s Hospital, who has worked closely with the boys. “Bleeding can occur anywhere, but joint and muscle bleeds are the most common types of bleeding episodes. Repeated bleeding into a joint often leads to joint damage.”

Since arriving in Canada two years ago as refugees and settling in Hamilton, Haider and Omar have been under the care of Dr. Anthony Chan, Director of Pediatrics, Hemophilia Treatment Centre and Chair Holder at McMaster Children’s Hospital. The twins are currently receiving regular prophylaxis treatment, which is the infusion of clotting factor concentrates into the bloodstream in an attempt to raise the blood’s ability to clot.

“We came to Canada because we wanted to be in a safe country, specifically for our children,” says Sufyan. “We lived in Syria, where there were political problems. Medication was very expensive and we couldn’t always get more. We’re lucky to be in Canada now and we have peace of mind.”

Currently the twins come to McMaster Children’s Hospital for checkups, as Kay has taught Sufyan how to administer treatment at home.

“We do a lot of education with regards to making sure that the product gets stored properly, that it gets used appropriately,” she continues. “We educate parents so they don’t delay any treatment, so if a child has a knee bleed, they can treat it as soon as the bleed has been identified.”

The family is deeply appreciative of the care they receive at McMaster Children’s Hospital, as well as the warm welcome they have received in the community since their arrival.

Their next adventure – having another child. Najat is expecting a daughter to be joining the family in the near future.

“We are always saying thank you to Canada and to McMaster Children’s Hospital for helping us,” says Sufyan. “We are very happy now.”




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